Kia continues their winning streak of style, value, and efficiency with the all-new 2023 Kia Niro crossover. Gone is the generic “economy” look and feel of the outgoing Niro. In its stead is a very sharp-looking vehicle full of great content, style, and excellent fuel efficiency, at a price that will significantly appeal to buyers of this class.
Kia Niro Design
It’s no secret that Kia has absolutely been crushing it with vehicle design as of late. The Telluride, EV6, Sportage, and Sorrento are all fantastic-looking vehicles with great packages underneath. Kia took this same success and applied it to the oft-forgotten Niro lineup.
The new Kia Niro has a design that stands out in the crowd and features a new variation of the signature Kia Tiger Nose grille. The sharp-angle LED headlights are a prominent feature of the front end, with LED fog lamps sitting in the lower front fascia. The LED DRLs have a distinct shape that Kia says resembles a visualization of a heartbeat.
The rear of the Kia Niro features large, sharply angled vertical taillights that give the Niro a distinct look. The most distinctive visual feature of the 2023 Kia Niro are the large boomerang-shaped side-blade panels on the car’s rear. The gloss black side blades against the CityScape Green paint on our tester add significant visual interest that needs to be seen in person to truly appreciate.
Our Kia Niro SX Touring tester also featured gloss black wheel arches and lower body cladding. The Niro SX Touring rides on gorgeous 18-inch wheels.
A color-matched side-blade is also available for a slightly less conspicuous look.
Kia Niro Interior
The interior of the 2023 Kia Niro gains the familiar Parametric design found in the Sportage and EV6. Our Niro SX Touring utilizes twin 10.25-inch LCD screens that serve as the gauge cluster and infotainment interface. Below the infotainment screen and AC vents is a twin-purpose touch panel that controls EITHER climate functions or media functions depending on which mode is selected.
I’m not fond of this panel in any of the Kia vehicles I’ve tested, as I found myself adjusting temperature rather than volume because the panel mode had switched back to climate. Admittedly, you can handle most media controls from the steering wheel, but muscle memory has me reaching to the center console often. I imagine an owner would get used to this functionality, given more time with the interface.
Below the touch panels are USB-A/USB-C ports and a wireless charging mat. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality are standard. Our Niro SX Touring tester came standard with an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Niro PHEVs and BEVs receive a rotary dial for shift functions, while our SX Touring Hybrid retains a gear lever.
Overall, the Kia Niro interior is a pleasant place to be. The cabin materials are better than the price point might indicate, and it always feels that you’re driving a vehicle at a higher price point.
The SynTex covered seats are very supportive both front and rear, and the rear seats can be filled with two average adults without them feeling cramped by the front row seats.
The Kia Niro cargo area is best-in-class, with 22.8 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats up and 63.7 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down.
Performance and Efficiency
Our Kia Niro SX Touring tester was the Hybrid EV flavor, but the Niro is also available in Plug-In Hybrid and full Battery EV flavors. The HEV models are powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine which sends 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels by way of a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric motor.
The Niro feels peppy enough around town and highway merging maneuvers. I always felt confident when I needed the power, and the Niro delivered.
The EPA rates the Niro HEV at 53 mpg city, 54 mpg highway, and 53 mpg combined. I observed a very respectable 49mpg in 170 miles of mixed driving.
The Kia Niro HEV features several advanced safety features:
- Kia Drive Wise Safety Suite
- Forward-Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection
- Lane-Keeping/Following Assistance
- Driver Monitoring System
- Blind-Spot Warning
- Rear Cross-Traffic Warning
- Safe-Exit and Rear-Seat Reminder System
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Intersection Turn Assistance
Kia Connect connectivity is available in-car and through the Kia Access app. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration is available for specific vehicle functions like remote start.
The Kia Niro HEV starts at $34,790 before $1,295 destination charge with all major features included as standard equipment. The only notable options are a $350 auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink and three $100 cargo area organization options. That’s a lot of vehicle for right around $36k all-in. You get stand-out Kia styling, a solid tech and safety suite, and fantastic fuel efficiency without compromising.